Thursday, May 24, 2007
So, this week was insanely hectic with everything else not related to school and I will attempt to do a brief run of what's happening at UCSF right now. This weekend, UCSF Alumni Bob Day hosted his annual barbecue at his house in Corte Madera that he has been hosting for ASP over the past 32 years. About 20 of us pharmacy students drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to be pleasantly surprised with the welcoming weather in Marin county. We were given a tour of his gorgeous home and took a hike along the lush mountains in the nearby Redwood forest, making the average backyard in the city look like a patch of dry grass. Smelling the grill on our way back, we were treated to an old-fashioned American barbecue dinner: hamburgers, hot links, mashed potatoes, chicken salad, fruit salad, homemade cookies, and fruit tarts. It was the perfect salvation from a nonstop trail of midterms.
I met with Dr. Robin Corelli and Dr. Kroon to plan out our roles as Tobacco Awareness Project Coordinators. The project has shifted from its original emphasis on prevention toward quitting. The first order of business was to attend these counseling sessions where we shadow pharmacists assessing and assisting patients to quit smoking. Then we conduct demonstrations or lectures about medication use. This counseling experience will come in handy in our third years when we start screening every patient in the hospital for tobacco use. We will also have an opportunity to help write the tobacco cessation chapter in the therapeutics book. Having our names in a publication in our second year will be quite an achievement. Also, there are a ton of health fairs where industry representatives will be providing lung function machines, computer-based imaging of smokers with continual smoking over a period of time, cessation consultations, and medication use demonstrations. These fairs include the mobile unit known as the GSK Motivational Center, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline, to promote their OTC nicotine replacement products; the other includes the Nascar Solano County Fair.
Currently, there are two main types of drugs: nicotine replacement therapies and nicotinic partial agonists. A motley of formulations are associated with low patient adherence because are using their meds incorrectly. For example, the Nicotrol nicotinic inhaler is not like an albuterol inhaler. Patients have to create the inflow with their lungs by sucking on the inhaler in a stuccato manner over 20 minutes. Another example is the nicorrette gum. Unlike regular trident, you only chew the gum until a tingling sensation is felt, then park the piece along the cheek until the sensation dissapears and continue to repeat the process. The frequency of chewing the gum must be decreased over a ten-twelve week period to allow the body to slowly decrease its reliance on nicotine.
I visited my resdent Robert also. I realized that Robert is extremely happy during my visit. When I asked him why, he said that it was because the doctor decided to release him in about a month. He plans to get another apartment in the city and resume his life. I worry about what is going to happen to him when he is outside of an environment that protect him from drugs and other bad influences. He does seem older and wiser than his former self when he was living on the streets. Even though he is off heroine, he still cannot kick his smoking habit. He can at least spend his last years perhaps with his grown daughters or in peace in the city he loves so much.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
I wanted to devote some blog space to talking about the UCSF School of pharmacy spring auction that we are hosting. So basically, we go out into Sunset, Union Square, and Haight to inquire if local businesses and restaurants would be interested in donating to our Spring Auction that will be held May 31st at 3:30pm in the MU conference center.
Descriptions of Auction items that I personally was able to get:
Donation: 2 $25 gift certificates
How obtain: I will pick it up when it's available, manager keeps telling me her printer is broken, so she has to make punch card certificates instead
Donation: $25 gift basket
How obtain: Mailed 5/14/07 to Stephanie Zi
Website reference if needed:
Donation: 2 $50 Gift baskets
How obtain: I will pick it up when it's ready on the 5/21/07 (want me to hold it until the 31st?)
Website reference if needed:
Manager does not have an ad, so Nathan can refer to the website?
Company: Benefit Cosmetics
Donation: $1000 After Hours Benefit Boutique Party
How obtain: will mail to Stephanie Zi tomarrow or day after (their office is in SF so you should recieve it by the beginning of next week
I confirmed with Angelica over the phone that they're definitely going to do this party. We don't deal with the PR office about arranging it, the "winner" is supposed to contact the boutique and arrange the party. Stephanie will recieve the details about the boutique contact. The gift certificate has all the details of the party, and the PR rep was in a hurry, so I don't have any further details about the event. I know so far that it includes a choice of lip or eyebrow waxing; appetizers and champagne are served.
We can either auction 15 invitations, 7 invitations for you and a friend, or auction the whole thing. I think 15 invitations will optimize profit. Here are 2 boutique locations in SF for your reference. https://exchange.ucsf.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.chestnutshop.com/pages/benefit.html
Saturday, May 05, 2007
In stark contrast, pharmacogenetics and biopharmaceutics have been not quite as interesting as I expected. Su Guo guides us relatively slowly through a review of basic genetics and is just now skimming the surface of population genetics. The terms (recessive, dominant, allele, genotype, etc) that we must learn are dryly linked in lecture to obscure genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia or G6DP deficiency. Biopharmaceutics is so random because it feels more like an elective than a real core class. We have heard lectures on quite futuristic forms of drug delivery but are not quite applicable to our practice at the moment. It feels like the Pharmaceutical chemistry department is using this class to promote moving their technology into the clinics.
I also did quite a few other random activities this weekend.
I went downtown to union square to ask businesses to donate gift certificates to the APhA-ASP community service auction. The event is put on by the Associated Students of Pharmacy to raise money for our health fairs. In the past, people have been donating services like being designated driver for a night or dinner at someone's house. Apparently, we have been short on donations either due to students putting off asking the businesses or businesses refusing to donate to another charity. Pretty much all the large chains told me to contact their public relations departments since the instore managers do not have authority to do so. This was what a COMPUSA manager told me, but I found on their website that the sales managers are allowed if not encouraged by corporate to participate in local non-profit organizations. Lush cosmetics, a company I really like, did agree up front since they run their operations as if it were local.
When I let myself procrastinate lately, I find myself watching these visually stunning edited clips of Edie sedgwick. Even without the thick black mascara, she's got a way with the camera. I can't wait to see Factory Girl when it comes out in June; it's an almost unreal juxtaposition of the 60's most prevalent pop culture icons: Edie, Dylan, Warhol... I hear Sienna Miller is remarkable in it, but I am not sure why she played her so bubbly in the trailer because Edie seems like one of the most disturbed and despondent figures to be featured on film. And even though Christian Haydenson is awful, he's not bad to look at either. Below is her in Ciao, Manhattan, featuring her precociously deep voiceover in the original video montage.
Monday, April 30, 2007
A good number of pharmacy 1's headed downtown to attend the Red Hot Black and White Gala on saturday night. I personally did not attend, since I was working at Walgreens. But from the pics on facebook, it looked like the high school prom all over again except without parental chauffers.
Instead, I spent all friday baking a strawberry vanilla cake for my high school friend's 23rd birthday. I can't believe that we are almost crossing that mid 20's crossmark. It seems that this year especially is passing by really fast. We made bellinis, 1 to 5 peach puree to sparkling wine and watched that Emilio Estevez movie "Bobby."
The movie featured a star studded ensemble including Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Heather Graham, Lindsay Lohan, Elijah Wood, Anthony Hopkins, and Helen Hunt. I thought it was a little slow for me since there was a lot of extraneous content, like LSD trips and merely mediocre acting failing to meet all the hyped expectations from such a prestigious cast. The scenes that previous conversations were leading up to, like the Americans revering RFK, Virginia Fallon's stage performance, and Stone's character confronting William H. Macy about the affair, contained more or less trite dialogue and inexperienced direction. Estavas essentially handicapped "Bobby" into a made for TV movie than the real piece of cinema that it could have been.
My innovative pharmacy practice experiences elective CP152.07 is turning out to be the highlights of my week, besides my other favorite class Intro to Drug Metabolism and pharmacokinetics. The pharmacy practice experiences exposed us to a range of different fields that we can specialized in. Last week, a vetanary pharmacist showed us the fruity or meat flavored chews and gels that he compounds on a daily basis. Apparently, pet owners are more than willing to pay a pricey amount for compounded medicines out of pocket as long as they do not have to deal with chasing and forcing the pet to take the medication. Essentially, it is like working in a retail compounding pharmacy except that you typically do not deal with insurance. This week, a transplant pharmacist gave a presentation on her inpatient experience treating transplant patients. Given the increasing demand for pharmacists to make recommendations, serve as a drug information resource, give lectures to rotating students, and prepare specialized therapy regiments for patients, the field can only grow as a potential area for pharmacists. Transplant patients are typically on 15 different meds: immunosuppresants, insulin for prophylaxis of diabetes, antimicrobials, antihypertensives, and lipid lowering agents. Pharmacists need to modify drug regiments with physicians to avoid toxic levels of unmetabolized drug when the body is attempting to eliminate all these meds at the same time. Renal and liver transplant is much more developed field than Lung and heart transplants. Therefore, there is a need for case study publications and expanding research for Lung and Heart transplants.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
APhA-ASP held its first ever whole day event to increase UCSF student political involvement by exposing them to legislative issues pertaining to their profession. We called it Leg Day. Dr. Lorie Rice, who taught Law and ethics last quarter, was able to get Assemblyman and 2008 State Senate Candidate Mark Leno to speak on Universal Health care. A group of class leaders from the pharmacy school was able to explain to Leno about what pharmacists can do for the community: medication therapy management, taking medications correctly, avoiding adverse drug reactions, clinical pharmacy, and be involved in clinical research especially through the research projects in the Health policy and management/ Pharmaceutical sciences pathway.
During his talk, Leno rightly stated that as the baby boomer population ages and live longer, they will develop more diseases and increase health insurance costs for everyone. He argued that the costs of health care are astronomical and the privatized insurance system is only becoming more complicated to understand and often standing in the way of physicians trying to give their patients the proper care that they need. By throwing out the privatized insurance system and rebuilding a socialized health care system, the government could administer health care more economically and efficiently. The debate is still ongoing about whether single payer vs. employee based health care is the way to go.
He also addressed how families in low income neighborhoods are surrounded by liquor and convenience stores. How is it that we cannot give many of these communities access to healthy foods despite our nation's wealth and status as an industrialized superpower? Well, the fast food and snack industry have been expanding their low-cost products into every street corner and successively hooked Americans at a young age to foods concentrated with sugar and fat. Leno boldly linked the inaccessibility to unprocessed natural foods rich in antioxidants, high in fiber, and slowly absorbed complex sugars to the obesity and diabetes epidemic in this nation. In the pre-meeting that we had with Leno, he quoted a staggering 1 in 5 ratio of the population have diabetes, which will jump alarmingly to 1 in 3 by 2020.
If the source of the problem is in fact access since we as Americans are embracing fast food culture as part of our busy lives, then we need to increase access of fresh, healthy foods especially to children so they adopt healthy eating habits early. Leno's plan to combat juvenile obesity/diabetes is his healthy fruits initiative. The bill would provide the training and equipment that would allow storeowners to store and sell fresh fruits and vegetables. in low-income neighborhoods to maintain refrigerated systems to store and sell issues relating to politics and health care. Afterwards, he invited us to visit his office any time.
The city hall health fair was pretty awesome. A lot of us P1's took the muni to city hall and donned our white coats. I got to counsel a few city employees on sources of calcium for osteoporosis. It was pretty slow but we got a large class turnout.
I had to rush back in order to prep for the Leg Dinner. Kieran Flaherty, a former Leno staff member, along with some pharmacy faculty members gathered to facilitate discussions on some key legislative issues. Basically, 25 pharmacy students helped to draft their stances in breakout sessions on medical marijuana, Universal health care, and Medicare Part D. We all generally supported Universal health care, medication therapy managment, and thought that greater research was needed to substantiate a bill to legalize medical marijuana and industrial hemp. We decided to hand them over to Lori Rice, who would forward them to Leno so he can better represent UCSF in the assembly.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I got these translucent invitation paper and printed invites for the patient counseling competition banquet on the 12th. I still have not confirmed the final guest count and menu with the restaurant that I am organizing the banquet at. It seems like people just RSVP at the last minute.